The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OHSA) is the division of the Department of Labor tasked with setting and enforcing standards of workplace safety across the United States. And this singular mission of OHSA has been the same since the agency’s inception in 1970. But outside regulatory bodies can only do so much to ensure optimum conditions; the real battle must be waged in the workplace. And it is up to the employer to pick up this mantle and ensure his or her professional environment is safe for the employees.
That doesn’t mean the employer needs to upend their entire business operation, but comprehensive standards do need to be put in place. For example, there are various considerations to keep in mind depending on the type of professional operation in place. With that in mind, here are some helpful safety tips for employers that cover a number of common scenarios.
A disaster is classified as any event that causes damage of a catastrophic nature leading to injury, death and/or property damage. Disasters can be either man-made or natural and include such events as tornados, hurricanes, floods, chemical leaks, bombings and earthquakes. All employers need to have proper disaster protocols in place. This includes offering employee training in case of emergency, as well as setting up specific briefings during new-hire orientations. From there, safety training and seminars should be held annually.
May be linked with disaster preparedness, but often this subject warrants its own category. Fire is a potential danger in most environments, particularly in the workplace. Smoking, faulty wiring, defective electrical equipment, these things can all be the cause of a devastating workplace fire. Employees need to receive not only proper fire emergency training, but participate in regular fire drills as well. The purpose of these drills is to make a smart response a matter of instinct in the event of an emergency.
Also, employees should be well versed in proper fire extinguisher usage. One particular acronym employers teach their staff is PASS:
Pull the safety pin
Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire
Squeeze the handle to discharge fire extinguisher
Sweep fire extinguisher back and forth to cover the area with spray
According to OSHA, employers in charge of a workplace that utilizes chemicals must educate their employees accordingly. That means establishing a hazard communication program offering detailed info on each chemical used in the operation. From there, a training program must be set up to ensure the staff understands the hazards and proper usage of the chemicals. Employers may want to utilize a Material Safety Data Sheet to ensure the employee has every bit of info he or she needs when handling potentially hazardous chemicals.
By maintaining high safety standards, employers will be doing their part to mitigate risk when it comes to the health and wellbeing of their employees. And since employees are any boss’ greatest asset, a safe workplace makes dollars as much as it makes sense.
Walter Chapman is a professional blogger that provides tips on OSHA safety training. He writes for OSTS, Inc., a high quality safety training and consulting service in Chino, CA.